Saturday, September 15, 2012

Reply to DW: Caterpillar is the Elephant-Hawkmoth

I've had a question from D.W. about the caterpillar from the post about Brande and Gudenaa.:

It is an Elephant Hawkmoth/ Dueurtsværmer) and it is common in Denmark. Latin: Deilephila elpenor. I haven't got a photo of the adult moth, but you can find some good shots on Google. Some of the photos of the caterpillar are funny  - where it's lifting its little head.

"I am dangerous", it says.
Supposedly its look scares away birds and other animals because the enemies consider it's a snake. Its food are flowers from especially the willowherb family - in this case it was the Great Willowherb, but it's also fond of the fuchsia in the garden. If it is disturbed it takes on a threatening position and looks like a little cobra ready to strike.

Please try to watch this lille video of the Elephant-Hawkmoth , it's from 1999, but it's good.

Elephant-Hawkmoth eating fuchsias

 Although the caterpillar looks like a snake it turns into a pretty butterfly with pink colours (see Google). The species is common in DK. The caterpillar is found in water holes or in ditches along forest roads with willowherb. The adult butterfly is out flying in the summer period, but mostly at night.

Kind regards and thank you for your interest

photo Brande 2012: grethe bachmann


MyMaracas said...

Funny little fellow. I wouldn't be too pleased with him eating my fuchias, though.

Michael and Hanne said...

Thank YOU Thyra!

Thyra said...

Hej Maracas, I'm almost sure that this little funny fellow is so charming that you'll let him eat just one fuchsia before you gently carry him into your neighbor's garden.

Grethe ´)

Thyra said...

Hej Michael and Hanne. It's so nice to see you. Do you have that little "cobra" in your garden maybe?

Grethe ´)

MyMaracas said...

Wellll... maybe just one.

stardust said...

The caterpillar scares away me, too. Whenever I see a catappilar in person, pimples come out on my arms. I know I should have warm feeling toward it to imagine it will grow into a pretty butterfly.


Thyra said...

Yes, it is difficult to imagine that a caterpillar will grow into a beautiful butterfly. I have gradually become accustomed to some of the caterpillars, I think the bear-caterpillar is cute, but I don't like fx worms and earwigs!!

I liked this caterpillar: the elephant-hawkmoth, because it is so funny when it lifts its little head and try to look dangerous!

Grethe ´)